Civilian Labor Force

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DEFINITION of 'Civilian Labor Force'

A term used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to describe the subset of Americans who have jobs or are seeking a job, are at least 16 years old, are not serving in the military and are not institutionalized. In other words, all Americans who are eligible to work in the everyday U.S. economy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Civilian Labor Force'

The civilian labor force, which is recalculated monthly, is a key component of two commonly used employment calculations created by the BLS: the labor force participation rate and the unemployment rate. According to the BLS, from 1999 through 2009, the number of people in the U.S. civilian labor force ranged from about 138 million to 155 million.

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